What is social anxiety disorder (social phobia)?

In a social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged by others. In a social anxiety disorder, fear and anxiety lead to avoidance that can disrupt your life. Severe stress can affect your daily routine, work, school or other activities.

What are the symptoms of social anxiety (social phobia) disorder?

In contrast to everyday nervousness or shyness, social anxiety disorder includes fear, anxiety and avoidance that interfere with daily routine, work, school or other activities. Social anxiety disorder typically begins in the early to mid-teens, though it can sometimes start in younger children or in adults. Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include persistent:

  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
  • Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
  • Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

How is social anxiety disorder (social phobia) treated?

Following a thorough psychiatric evaluation, a Remedy psychiatric provider will create an individualized treatment plan for each patient with social anxiety disorder (social phobia) as every patient has a unique experience and specific needs to be addressed. The prescribed treatment plan will depend on the patient, the severity of the disorder, and how he or she is currently responding to therapy or medication.